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Syed R.

asked • 03/05/15

this is french tell me this is true or false plz 1. jean ecrit la lettre a sa maman

i need to weather this is true  or false

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Stephanie S. answered • 03/11/15

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HADJI S.

The right answer is : Jean écrit une lettre à sa maman
 
or   La lettre que Jean écrit est destinée à sa maman
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04/14/15

Elizabeth S. answered • 09/02/19

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Nathalie E. answered • 03/09/15

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Mathew N.

Jean écrire la lettre à sa mère is fine.
 
Because there is absolutely no context, it's difficult to say what the intent was.
 
 
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03/09/15

Nathalie E.

jean "écrire", really? ;-)
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03/09/15

Mathew N.

That was via Google speak during a work break. My apologies...
 
Realistically, 3 possibilities exist:
 
Jean écrit la lettre à sa maman.
Jean écrit une lettre à sa maman.
Jean écrit les lettres à sa maman.
 
The first two already explained. The third being a habit the nonspecific "le," where English takes no article. 
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03/09/15

Nathalie E.

I don't agree with the explanations of your third example: It should be "Jean écrit des lettres à sa maman" in the case that you are mentioning (..where English takes no article). In French it is called an "article indéfini".
Anyway I don't think this is the purpose of Exira's question but nice talking with you regarding French grammar. 
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03/09/15

Nathalie E.

Syed's question, not Exira! Ahaha, sorry!
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03/09/15

Mathew N.

Okay... just looked it up. 
 
Neither you not I are correct for the general use. «l'article défini singulier [et non-pluriel] s' emploie avec une valeur générique... ,»as the original text states. My mistake was on singularity vs plurality of the article défini...
 
So, the original text is either a habit of "Jean" or specific letter.
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03/09/15

Mathew N.

Neither you nor I* (auto-correct)...
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03/09/15

Nathalie E.

I have no idea what you are talking about and I'm not sure where you want to go with that.
In english : the letters= les lettres en français
In english: letters (ex: I have to write letters)= Des lettres (ex: je dois écrire des lettres). (I'm a french native)
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03/09/15

Nathalie E.

Ok I know where I lost you! ;-) I said article indéfini when I was mentioning "les" instead of article défini! Lapsus sorry! 
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03/09/15

Mathew N.

Now that I am home and have more than 2 minutes to write an explanation I will clear up everything that seems to need clearing up...

Jean écrit la lettre à sa maman

Means the following:

John (Jean) is writing the letter for/to his mom. Specific case
John (Jean) writes letters for/to his mom. General case

Le as a determiner in French either acts as "the" in English for specificity, or as " " (no article) in English for generality. As I quoted from, Grevisse: grammaire langue française - le bon usagewhich I assume you are well aware is the authority on proper usage in French, the translation is roughly, "the definite article ["le"] in singular form is used as a generic."
 
You were correct in saying that les was incorrect for the generic, however des is not appropriate either. You did not lose me with l'article défini or l'article indéfini nor should you have assumed so.

My comments are based upon your assumption (incorrect) that the determiner le or any form of it is always specific.

J'aime le chocolat means I like/love chocolate. Le is being used for general use and not specific. If you would like more references other than le Grevisse I would be more than happy to find examples from Le Bescherelle or Stylistique comparée or others to "suit your fancy..."
 
In addition this is the reason why we say, "je mange du poulet" but "je mange le poulet du 114 Faubourg" (specific use).
 
The reason for, "Jean is writing the letter for/to his mom," is because the question is whether or not the text is true or false. The only way to determine whether the text is true or false is if there were context... Otherwise the text is grammatically correct (but not necessarily true)...
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03/10/15

Mathew N. answered • 03/05/15

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Matt H.

I believe the sentence means "to his mother," not "for."
 
"For his mother" would be "pour sa maman."
 
Matt in NY
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03/05/15

Matt H.

Also, "ecrit" is the past form of the verb, so it's "wrote the letter."
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03/05/15

Mathew N.

@Matt H.
In regards to the tense....

The verb écrire in the present indicative 3rd person singular, is écrit. Although the spelling for the past participle is also écrit it would be more incorrect to do so (would need to be, Jean a écrit ...). If you meant that it should say écrivit the simple past, that is more a literary tense and based on context clues does not appear to be the case.

Mode - Indicatif ... Temps - Présent
J'écris
Tu écris
Il écrit
Nous écrivons
Vous écrivez
Ils écrivent

Mode: Participe - Temps - Passé
 
écrit
 
 
 
As for the comment on the article to or for, either in English is appropriate. 

The meaning of for in this case is, "used to indicate the person or thing that something is sent or given to." Although it is taught in some schools (?) that à means to, in this case it is better English to use for.
 
Write to somebody...
Write something for somebody...
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03/05/15

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